Not everyone who sustains personal injury in an accident is entitled to claim compensation. In order for accident compensation claim solicitors to succeed in negligence litigation it is necessary to show that a third party was at fault and was responsible for causing the accident. In order to prove negligence it must be shown, that the 3rd party, who may in due course become a defendant in legal action, failed to take reasonable care for the safety of others.
Definition of Negligence
An accident compensation claim solicitor will rely on many different definitions of negligence which may be described in its most basic form as doing something that a reasonable person would not have done or failing to do something that a reasonable person would have done.
Standard of Proof
In order to succeed in a personal injury compensation claim, an accident compensation claim solicitor must prove the claimants case. It is not up to the defendant to prove anything at all. In a civil case (as opposed to a criminal matter) proof of facts is on the basis of the balance of probabilities. This means that the strict proof required in criminal trials of beyond reasonable doubt does not exist in a civil trial and matters are proved as facts if it can established that it is more likely to have occurred than not.
Duty of Care
A claimant must initially show that the defendant owed a duty of care which means that in the normal course of events the defendant should have ensured that another person was not placed in danger. This duty of care can be established in many walks of life. All road users owe each other a duty of care. A doctor owes a patient a duty of care. The owner of premises owes a duty of care to those who might reasonably be expected to visit. Modern law was developed following the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson  which layed the foundations of fault based negligence compensation claims.
Once a duty of care has been established it is up to the claimant to show that the duty of care has been breached and that harm has directly resulted. This is known as causation which can be a complex and difficult element to prove. Damage that is remote, which applies to totally unexpected consequences of the negligent action, may not be compensated.
Damage & Loss
The final element relates to proving that the defendants breach of duty caused the claimants damage. Both personal injury and financial loss can be compensated under this definition. The extent of personal injury damages is determined by a judge who assesses the financial award by reference to previously decided case and guidelines set out by the Judicial Studies Board.
Personal Injury Specialist
The Law Society operates specialist panels whereby individual accident compensation claim solicitors with adequate ability and experience and sufficient resources from their firms can apply for membership which is based on a professional assessment and if accepted onto the Personal Injury Panel are entitled to describe themselves as experts. Membership is not automatic and many solicitor applicants are refused.